Sunday, February 26, 2012

Getting Active Again

This, once again, is the school of social work across the street from my apartment. But it's got a small new addition you can see on the sidewalk in front: bike racks. Good ones.

I don't remember when I first noticed them. It was some night coming home this week. Probably either Tuesday, right after a successful play reading and hanging out with friends at Rodeo Bar with live music for Mardi Gras, Wednesday, helping one kid with his monologue from Romeo and Juliet, another with turning fractions into decimals and back, and a third with vector math in physics, or Friday, after an art gallery opening deep in the "post industrial" Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, coming in time to meet my newest couchsurfer after his flight from Dallas. It wasn't Thursday because after some really good chocolate with one friend and a hands on guitar rig lesson from another, I ended up in a bar with hard cider having a loud four-way argument about the virtues and pitfalls of playing hard to get that lasted late enough that I ended up crashing on my buddy's couch. I had to be in the same neighborhood at 10:30 the next morning for an Alexander Technique lesson anyway.

The point is, if I got a bike (and a couple good locks), I'd now have a convenient place to park it that wouldn't involve carrying the thing upstairs.

When I first told people here that I wanted to get a bike, the general response was "nice knowing you." But biking here has improved since then. There are more bike lanes and in a few months the city will actually start a full-on bike share program. Nobody here wears helmets, so I'll stand out a bit since I refuse to ride without one (except the one time in Laos where I was riding a couple days to teach an English class - I really didn't have an option).

I've been hosting a lot of couchsurfers recently, and I've had one recently ask me about playing basketball. I haven't changed my profile in so long, it still says I play that here. I haven't touched a basketball in a very, very long time. Frankly, living in Harlem, I don't think I'd last long playing against some of the middle-school kids I see out on the courts here.

But if I could find another place where I wouldn't get laughed off the court, I'm thinking I could get a ball, a pair of shoes for the job, and see how much I remember. That and a bike.

It's funny, a few weeks ago, I was concentrating mostly on what I could spend money on to enhance my home. Rugs, a new laptop, something to let me watch other things on my TV. Now I'm starting to think it might be time to spend money on things that will get me to be a little more active instead.

1 comment:

  1. I waited until my third year living in DC before getting a bicycle and realized I should have gotten one way earlier - it is very fun to ride on trails plus it so nice not having to wait for buses/trains. Even though I had to commute 8 miles to work it took my only 40 minutes to bike there versus an average of an hour by walking/public transportation.

    Here are some good tips for riding safely: . If you are going to ride at night definitely get some lights which are way more important for your safety than a helmet. Also, I wouldn't leave your bike outside overnight even if there are nice racks -- no locks are thief proof -- thick chains / u-locks simply take longer to saw through which usually acts as a deterrent during the day if people are around but less so at the dead of night when a thief can take their time. Folding bikes or road bikes are relatively easy to carry.